“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind,” Hosea 8:7.
These words were quoted by the Commander of RAF Bomber Command in 1942.
“Arthur Travers Harris, known as “Bomber”Harris, became commander of RAF Bomber Command in early 1942. Until then, Bomber Command hadn’t done much, but the energetic and controversial Harris soon changed all that. He became the architect and chief proponent of night-time “area bombing” of major German cities. He developed tactics, techniques, and training for the task.
In March he struck Lubeck. In April he bombed Rostock. Then, on the night of May 30-31 1942, he launched a devastating, 1,000-bomber attack on Cologne. A few days later, Harris went before RAF film cameras and delivered a chilling, two-minute message, shown on newsreels nationwide. He was unleashing a whirlwind on Germany, he said. ‘They sowed the wind,’ he warned, ‘and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.’ They did.
The verse in Hosea are words directed at the northern kingdom of Israel by the Lord. He has charged them with idolatry and other sins. The first verses of the chapter explain to us what the actual words of our text mean.
“Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces,” Hosea 8:1-6.
The ‘wind’ that Israel sowed consisted of a breaking of God’s Law, acting in defiance of Him, idolatry and a presumptuous assumption of God coming to their aid, all of which kindled God’s anger against them until it was a destroying ‘whirlwind’!
I thought of this verse on a number of occasions of late as I have listened to the reports of Israel’s campaign in Gaza against the murderous terrorism of Hamas.
I have every sympathy with Israel because I believe the promises given of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob regarding their earthly heritage and also their spiritual and eternal wellbeing. In Genesis chapter 28, mention is made of all three of the nation’s patriarchs.
“And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham,” Genesis 28:1-4.
These words explicitly state that the ‘promised land’, given of God to Abraham, is to be the eternal possession of (the) his descendants.
Let the Palestinians claim the land if they may, the matter is settled by divine decree and no action by unbelieving man will alter or hinder that decree.
Through the mouth of Moses, the Lord reiterated His promise to the nation of Israel. “But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people,” Leviticus 20:24.
I believe that at the return of Christ, converted Israel will come into a full possession of that land long promised to them.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee,” Isaiah 11:11-12:6.
As I have stated, I have thought upon the words of Hosea 8:7 many times of late. The fighting in Gaza has been most bitter. Hamas has, with satanic cunning, hidden themselves amongst civilians, constructed terrorist bunkers under hospital buildings and civilian housing complexes. It has been impossible to engage and root out the terrorist without inevitable collateral damage to civilian lives and property.
The suffering of children, their deaths and injuries, are heart-breaking, for in truth none of this is of their doing. However, many of the adult population must carry the blame for the sufferings. I do not excuse any excessive use of force by Israel’s troops, if that has been the case, but many of the older Palestinians have sided with Hamas terrorists and shielded and sheltered them.
Furthermore, by the most wicked lies and propaganda, many have been presented to the press with tear-streaked faces, lamenting the treatment they have received at the hand of Israel’s army.
Here in Northern Ireland, we have first-hand knowledge of the same tactics as are employed by Hamas. There has always been close links between the ‘Irish Republican Army’ terrorists and their counterpart in Gaza. We have seen here the terrorists launching attacks from behind women and children, hiding their weaponry in church and civilian properties and the staged media presentations of crocodile tears and lamentations!
In many ways, the Gaza news reports are reruns of events here during the decades of terrorism.
I repeat again, I do not excuse any excessive or unlawful use of force by Israel’s troops where that may have happened, but we must ever remembered that this latest outbreak of violence was the result of the raid by Hamas upon Jewish civilians on October 7th past. During that raid, unspeakable atrocities were carried out by the terrorists on children, women and men, by those under the influence of drugs, some of whom undoubtedly were ‘devil-possessed’!
That sparked Israel’s retaliation. There was a decision made to wipe out once and for all these evil tormentors on the borders of Israel.
The resultant campaign by Israel has been relentless. It is difficult for outsiders to come to the truth amidst the welter of lies and deceit. However, it is plain that as the campaign has continued and the death toll has mounted, there has been a growing tide of opinion amongst the former allies of Israel that her campaign has brought about too many civilians deaths.
Street protests by pro-Palestinians groups have been receiving increasing support across the pro-Israeli nations. Without doubt, much of this is the result of very clever manipulation of the media reports by anti-Israel elements, of which there are many!
Of course, amongst the Muslim nations there has been a manifesting of a growing hatred against Israel. That has been held in check, both by a fear of Israel’s response should they intervene in any way, and also the support and backing that the United States has given to Israel.
However, that support from the former allies of Israel, led by the USA, has undoubtedly been wavering. This, the Scriptures tell us, will lead on to complete abandonment of Israel by her former friends. (See “The latter-day universal abandonment of Israel recently hinted at!!”).
When that happens, there will be a ‘whirlwind’ of Muslim fury and revenge launched against Israel! That hatred will be fuelled by wrong-doings by Israel, imagined, concocted, invented and, sadly, true in some instances, in her dealings with her Gentile neighbours in the past.
Israel, as a people, are far away from God. They are in a state of rejecting Jesus Christ, their true Messiah. That rejection has cost them God’s favour and blessing. Being in such a state, they are very open to the attacks of their enemies. Since AD 70 and the destruction of their nationhood by the Romans, they have been a scattered people, subject to the bitterest abominations by the Gentile races.
In (Since?)1948, when the state of modern Israel came into existence, they have been able to defend themselves much more effectively against their enemies, though, it must be understood, through the very substantial support of the USA, the United Kingdom and France, to name by (but) a few of those who have stood with Israel in recent times of conflict.
However, that support is not there to the degree it was once given. Warnings have been issued by her former staunch allies that indicates a diminishing sympathy, due in part to the events in Gaza in recent days.
However, Israel has one UNCHANGING ALLY, of Whom she thinks little of! That Ally is the Lord, the One Who has made an everlasting covenant with that nation.
Yes, Israel is spurning and repudiating her ONLY TRUE FRIEND at the present time, but that will change. It is her FRIEND Who will change things.
Heed God’s Word and see what it is God’s has planned for His ancient people. He will bring them first through the fire to purify them. He will then intervene in mercy to deliver the remnant of His people and punish and utterly overthrow their enemies by the hand of His people. He will bring about their spiritual conversions and the purging of the land and they shall enter into that rest long promised them. Hear how Zechariah puts it.
“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land,” Zechariah 12:1-13:2.
I have drawn attention to the repeated phrase ‘in that day’. It is the day identified in the chapter 14.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south,” Zechariah 14:1-4.
It is that day of which the angel spoke at the Saviour’s departure from this world, some 2000 years ago.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey,” Acts 1:6-12.
The SAME Saviour will return, in the SAME fashion as He departed, to the SAME place from which He ascended, even the Mount of Olives.
That is the day when the whirlwind, which has been largely of their own sowing, will end for Israel.
Oh happy day!
Rev Ivan Foster. (Rtd)
20th December 2023